Sarah Cwiek

Sarah Cwiek - Detroit Reporter/Producer

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Radio in October, 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit. Before her arrival at Michigan Radio, Sarah worked at WDET-FM as a reporter and producer.

Ways To Connect

University of Michigan, School of Natural Resources and Environment

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan is out and about in Detroit, trying to drum up support for a controversial land deal.

The proposed deal involves the city receiving almost 5 acres of riverfront property, currently owned by the Ambassador Bridge Company, along with $3 million. The city will use that to expand and improve Riverside Park, which is adjacent to the bridge in southwest Detroit.

Charles & Adrienne Esseltine / Flickr

After months of outreach and efforts to avoid a massive foreclosure crisis, more than 32,000 Wayne County properties are still on track for the county’s annual property tax auction in the fall.

That’s 32,629 properties county-wide, according to the latest numbers from the Wayne County Treasurer’s office. 28,545 of those distressed properties are in Detroit, the heart of the delinquent property tax issues.

Wayne County executive Warren Evans has asked state officials to declare a financial emergency there.

In a letter to state treasurer Nick Khouri Wednesday, Evans lays out his reasons for requesting state intervention in Michigan’s largest county, and requests Khouri start the process that could lead to a financial emergency being declared.

Wikipedia

The Detroit City Council has rejected efforts to impose a four-day youth curfew preceding the city’s fireworks festival.

The annual fireworks are coming up this Monday, and there’s usually a curfew. This year, Detroit Police had asked to expand it to the three Detroit Riverdays preceding the fireworks.

The proposal drew some heated criticism at a public hearing Tuesday.

DIA

This week, the Ford Foundation’s board of trustees meets in Detroit for the first time in nearly 70 years.

The foundation’s roots are in Detroit, where it was launched by Edsel Ford and the Ford Motor Company in the 1930s. It moved its headquarters to New York in 1946, and has since become an organization with a global philanthropic reach.

wikimedia commons

Seven Ann Arbor restaurants must pay more than 100 employees over $145,000 in back wages.

That’s after a U.S. Department of Labor investigation into the city’s restaurant industry revealed a host of violations.

State Rep. Kurt Heise, R-Plymouth.
Michigan Republicans

One state legislator says the process of creating a regional authority to manage southeast Michigan’s water needs to start from scratch.

The Great Lakes Water Authority was finalized last week. The Authority will lease and run what’s now the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department’s system outside Detroit city limits for $50 million a year.

Michigan State Historic Preservation Office

A former Detroit high school teacher is suing the state-run Education Achievement Authority in federal court.

Tiffani Eaton used a broom to break up fighting students at Pershing High School, one of 15 schools the EAA runs in Detroit, in April last year. The incident was captured on cell phone video, and the district fired her.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

It’s official: Jeff Blashill is the Detroit Red Wings’ new head coach.

Blashill was widely considered the heir apparent to Mike Babcock, who just left to coach the Toronto Maple Leafs. He signed a four-year deal with the team worth an undisclosed amount.

Blashill has been the popular and successful coach of the Wings’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins, for three seasons.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Wayne County has again extended the deadline for homeowners to avoid tax foreclosure.

Facing the prospect of an unprecedented foreclosure crisis, the county has expanded its outreach efforts to distressed homeowners, and had already moved back the original March payment deadline to Monday. 

Washtenaw County Prosecutor's office

Wayne County has partnered with UPS to make sure Detroit never faces a rape kit backlog again.

Prosecutor Kym Worthy says her office worked with UPS to design a tracking system for the rape kits—using the same kind of technology the shipping company uses to track packages.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

A federal judge in Detroit sentenced Chicago-area Palestinian-American activist and community leader Rasmea Odeh to 18 months in prison for immigration fraud Thursday.

A jury convicted Odeh, 67, last year of lying on naturalization papers and unlawfully obtaining U.S. citizenship.

Odeh said she had never been convicted of a crime. In fact, an Israeli military court had convicted her of involvement in a 1969 Jerusalem terrorist attack.

Birmingham Public Schools

Bills are headed up for customers of the state’s largest water system, after Detroit’s regional board of water commissioners approved rate hikes today.

Commission chair James Fausone says the system’s budget will stay about the same, but it has revenue requirements to meet — and customers have been using less water in recent, wet years.

Brendel / wikimedia commons

Time is running out for Wayne County residents to get help with tax foreclosures.

County officials say thousands of people facing foreclosure have gotten on payment plans to avoid that — more than 7,500 in Detroit alone.

But the option is only available until the end of this month.

uavglobal.com

The Michigan State Police has become the first law enforcement agency with permission to use a drone statewide.

The state police purchased a drone in September 2013.

Since then, the agency has been working with the Federal Aviation Administration to meet safety and training requirements.

Wayne County Executive Warren Evans issued an executive order Monday imposing a spending and hiring freeze.

The county will not fill vacant positions, with some exceptions for health and public safety jobs.

No one will get a raise unless mandated by collective bargaining agreement. 

The Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren is still getting public and expert input, even as its deadline approaches.

The group is coming up with recommendations to overhaul and streamline Detroit’s multiple school systems. They face a March 31 deadline to submit recommendations to Governor Snyder.

This past weekend, the coalition held several workshops to hear from Detroit children.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Bad news keeps on coming for some Detroit retirees hit by the so-called “clawback.”

They must pay back money the city says they were over-paid through excessive interest on annuity savings funds meant to bolster their retirement income.

For many retirees, that adds up to a lot more than the 4.5% direct pension cuts that general system retirees have to absorb.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A bill that would change how Michigan allocates its electoral college votes is back in the mix in Lansing.

Republican state representatives Cindy Gamrat, Todd Courser, Thomas Hooker, and Gary Glenn introduced the bill this week.

It proposes that each of the state’s 14 Congressional districts gets one electoral vote — with the two remaining votes going to the statewide winner.

Currently, nine of those 14 districts lean Republican.

Loveland Technologies / via Why Don't We Own This?

A “hurricane without water” and a “looming disaster” — those are just two of the phrases that have been used to describe the unprecedented foreclosure crisis facing Detroit this year.

But this time, it’s not about banks and mortgages. It’s about unpaid property taxes, and efforts to patch up a system everyone admits had been broken for years.


wikipedia

A Michigan Congressman is cautioning a federal agency to be careful how it goes about creating rules to protect a certain type of bat.

Congressman Dan Benishek (R), who represents Northern Michigan’s first district, is concerned the US Fish and Wildlife Service could name the northern long-eared bat a threatened species—and that could place an “undue economic burden” on affected areas.

Detroit’s regional board of water commissioners will vote on new rates next week.

The board will vote on a proposal that would increase Detroit retail customers’ combined water and sewer rates by 12.8%, while suburban wholesale customers would see rates jump a combined 6.4%.

via Detroit Public Schools

The Detroit Public Schools’ emergency manager has laid out a plan he says should get the district on a “sustainable path” by the end of his 18-month term.

Darnell Earley’s restructuring plan has some short-term specifics, such as convening a summit of Detroit’s “education service providers” to discuss putting a moratorium on creating new schools before fall 2015; identifying further potential school and “substandard facility” closures; and establishing a task force to deal with the district’s high population of special education students.

via Walter P. Reuther Library, Wayne State University

Wayne State University plans to issue its first-ever posthumous honorary degree to slain Detroit civil rights activist Viola Liuzzo.

Liuzzo was murdered by Ku Klux Klan members near Selma, Alabama in 1965. The 39-year-old mother of five was a Wayne State nursing student when she died.

“I think that Mrs. Liuzzo could not be a better spokesperson or symbol for Wayne State,” says Kim Trent, who sits on Wayne State’s Board of Governors. “She was a non-traditional student, someone who was really trying to use her life to change America.”

Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

The next two years are make-or-break ones for the future of regional transit in Metro Detroit, according to an expert panel at Tuesday’s Detroit Policy Conference.

One of Gov. Snyder’s top education advisors made a rare public appearance at the Detroit Regional Chamber’s yearly Detroit Policy Conference Thursday.

Paul Pastorek has been working behind the scenes in Lansing for months.

According to the Governor’s office, he’s an “at-will consultant" helping design a major overhaul for Detroit’s struggling, fragmented education system.

Courtesy of City of Detroit, Mayor's Office

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan briefed the city council on the city’s first post-bankruptcy budget Tuesday.

This $1.1 billion budget is almost entirely former emergency manager Kevyn Orr’s doing, laid out in the city’s bankruptcy restructuring plan, but Duggan said he’s committed to sticking to it as closely as possible.

Duggan noted the city is actually bringing in higher revenues than that budget anticipated, but he said city officials can’t assume that trend will continue.

dugganfordetroit.com

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan will deliver his annual budget address to the Detroit City Council Tuesday.

It’s a different process this year. That’s because most of the budget is already laid out in the city’s court-approved bankruptcy exit plan, formally known as a “plan of adjustment.”

wikimedia commons

Some southeast Michigan cities are preparing to take on the state’s largest utility.

At issue is DTE Energy’s plan to raise rates on municipal LED streetlight installations.

Changes underway at EAA

Feb 18, 2015

The Education Achievement Authority, the controversial state-run system for some of the lowest-performing schools, is making some changes.

EAA chancellor Veronica Conforme announced the “restructuring” at a board meeting this week.

Pages